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Birthdays and delayed gratification - why is it important?

One of the wonderful things about having good friends is that we are all different and have different experiences.

In my family, the birthday tradition was that the children would get up early and make Mum and Dad a cup of tea and we would all pile into the bedroom to get and give birthday presents.  Then your birthday would be a special day for you, and dinner would always be your favourite meal (and I still, many years later, have a treat of stuffed potatoes as my special birthday treat when I can!)

Your birthday is the one day of the year that is unique to you.  It is your special day.  That is how I think about it.

But this year I realised that there are different perspectives on birthdays.  When buying a special present for a special 20 year old  friend this year, we went shopping and purchased the present about 4 weeks before her birthday.  The tradition in her family was to get presents when they were purchased.  But I was staunch and insisted that the present not be opened until her birthday.

It was duly set aside and opened at 1 minute after midnight on her birthday.  I like to think that the delayed gratification made it all the more pleasurable.

I was reminded of this when I read a column by Martin Hawes, pointing out the value of delayed gratification.  He explained that a series of studies at Stanford University in the 1960's showed that people who could defer gratification had a better educational attainment, lower BMI's and were more successful later in life.

Delayed Gratification and investing

This flows on to the value of saving your money, and building it up to use in the future.  We know from many years experience as financial planners that our clients that rigorously save and increase their savings each year have comfortable lives and futures.

KiwiSaver has introduced this delayed gratification to millions of people in New Zealand.  Most people did not know that they could save that much.  They key is that the money disappears before you even see it, so you don't know that you have had it.

There is now $20,000,000,000 invested in KiwiSaver funds in New Zealand.  That is $20 billion.  This is delayed gratification in action.  This averages around $9,000 per KiwiSaver member.  Many KiwiSavers now have in excess of $20,000 saved for their future.

This shows how delayed gratification can work.  If you are in KiwiSaver and are ready to start other savings, contact us and we will help you look at your financial plan and investment options.

Here is the article that Martin Hawes wrote:
Sweet discipline key to success
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